Sunday, January 21, 2007

Behold: The Hairy-Garyized 1983 Trek 520

About a month ago, I went on and on about making the perfect bike from an old Trek I had. Well, the work is done and the result looks great. I would like to report on the riding/handling characteristics, but when it snowed about 6 inches as soon as I got it built up. I did wrestle it around the neighborhood in the deep snow, and for what that was worth, it felt good... so, more to come on that.

The idea with this bike is that it will truly be a do-everything bike. It's got fattish tires for trail riding. The 650b fanatics swear that the tire size is a perfect road tire too. The front fork was raked to 58mm to provide for 40mm of trail. This front-end geometry will allow for primary loads to be carried comfortably up front.

A couple issues I still need to figure out.

Gearing: Right now the gearing is 45/34 up front and 12/32 in the rear. I'd be happier with a slightly lower gear to make this truly a go almost anywhere bike. I couldn't fit a triple on there with the bottom brackets that I had in my stash (even though the longest was 122.5!), so I'm thinking a 94mm BCD double that will allow me to go 44/30 up front may be on this bike in the future. My buddy Alex runs his Trek of the same year with that combo up front and it makes a lot of sense. I've ridden it and it's great: you have a single cruising rang with the 44 spread across the rear cassette, then a bail-out gear with the 30t chain ring. Alex provides a more thorough explanation on his blog. Read it. Good stuff.


I'm not sure if that's how you spell that, but a decaluer is a device that allows you to remove a front handle bar bag quickly and provides support for the bag when it's on your bike. I have one and it slides in on the headset stack. The fork was not cut long on this bike originally. I also added a brake cable hanger to the stack to accommodate the new front cantilever brake. This bike originally shipped with side-pulls. So, no room on the stack. My original thinking was to replace the headset, since the one I have on there is goofy for reasons I don't want to go into. I could replace the headset with one that could give me a lot more stacking room. But now, I'm thinking I just may find a brake cable holder to attach to the actual stem. I've used those before and while not elegant: they work.


I still have a rack coming from Gary that will fit onto the existing rack. More on that later. Once that comes I'll figure out where to put the front headlight.

Front Brake Pad Clearance
There ain't much. This picture shows my hack for now. Alex recommended finding a canti-brake that mounts the brake further in the front. I've got a stack of canti-brakes here so, I'll find one that works. But I do love the 986's. So easy to set up.

Finally, let me say this: Hairy Gary is great. His work is great. Go here for more detailed pics of this frame. Everything he did is perfect: the rear-spacing is dead on 135mm. The braze-ons for the canti's look like they grew out of the frame. All the spacing for all the braze-ons he did are perfect. He re-shaped the front rack to fit the width of the forks. Just perfect work all around and a killer deal; just over $300 for the work and the paint job. Paint is powder coat. I asked for sparkles in any color and he delivered. I can't wait to get on this bike and go.


Hjalti said...

That really looks like acool refurb of a classic. Hope it works well for you. Why are you ditching the QB?

John Speare said...

I'm getting rid of the QB because I have a good-enough frame that I can replace it with for my fixed bike. I need to raise cash to build up a day-tourer for my wife... so the fancy QB is on the block. Wanna buy it? Frame/fork: $650 shipped to CONUS.

Scott Clark said...

Very nice, John. Looking forward to a ride report once you get some decent weather.

scott in c'ville va

Anonymous said...

Now that you have had some time on the Trek 520 when are you going to get a custom built ride from Hairy Gary? His frames are the best I have ridden. Paint jobs are pretty awesome as well!

John Speare said...

Anon: I don't have any plans to get a custom bike from Gary. He made me a rack a while back and I'll always go to him for frame repairs and other hacks that I need.

I can't really think of a custom bike I would want. When I go crazy with the idea -- I've thought maybe of a perfectly executed Porteur or Randoneur, which is not really Gary's bag.

It's hard for me to imagine getting a custom.

Unknown said...

better late than never....
WRONG , Not an '83 , '83 had caliper brakes
'84 is earliest for canti brakes
go to vintage trek , to verify...!